$4.5 Million for Crop Research and Development

The Government of Jamaica has allocated some $4.5 million for Crop Research and Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, in the 2007/08 Estimates of Expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives.
The project has three sub-projects; Field Crops, Roots and Tubers, Orchard and Horticultural Crops and provides funding for research leading to the improvement in the quality and productivity of a variety of plants and crops. Of the total, $3.308 million will go towards the Orchard and Horticultural Crops component, to develop and improve varieties of orchard and horticultural crops as well as pumpkin, scotch bonnet pepper, ackee, papaya, breadfruit, jackfruit, sour sop, June plum and lychee.
A further $619,000 has been set aside for the Roots and Tubers sub-project, to carry out research activity relating to germ-plasm maintenance and production technologies for cassava, sweet potato and yam.
The Field Crops sub-project will also receive $573,000 to improve the yields of melon, legumes, tomato, herbs, spices, and sorrel.
In the meantime, the Plant Protection Research programme has been allotted $2.5 million. This project, which has two-sub projects, includes research activities into pests and other diseases that affect crops and apiculture.
The two sub-projects of the programme are Plant Protection and Beekeeping. Plant Protection will receive $1.776 million to carry out activities related to entomology, nematode control, plant pathology, and weed science. Meanwhile, some $724,000 will go toward Beekeeping to allow for the provision of extension services to beekeepers and the monitoring and inspection of apiaries for the American Foul Brood disease, and the Verroa mite.
Another sub-programme, Phytosanitary Research will benefit from $1.5 million. The project is aimed at screening high and medium risk plant germplasm obtained for agricultural production or for research purposes in order to prevent the introduction and spread of new pest in Jamaica’s agricultural systems. According to the Estimates, emphasis will be placed on maintaining a repository for disease-free citrus/germplasm produced locally and imported overseas; and screening plant material imported for commercial or research purposes for the presence of pests not known to occur in Jamaica.

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